The National Public Radio (NPR) program “Marketplace Weekend Edition” reached out to HCA last week about the serious workforce infrastructure challenges in home care.
This issue has gained national prominence, in part due to a recent public hearing by the state Assembly’s core committees on Health, Aging, Labor and the Task Force on People with Disabilities, chaired by Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried. HCA Executive Vice President Al Cardillo testified at the hearing, prompting the NPR interview request.
In the interview, Mr. Cardillo described the stresses of workforce recruitment and retention challenges on: workforce continuity; the patient experience of care; and system costs, especially at a time of continued, enormous fiscal pressures on the home care industry. These pressures all coincide as the need “far exceeds the number of workers,” Mr. Cardillo said. He provided concrete examples of ways in which workers need to be matched to the individual and his or her specific care needs, amid the workforce shortage.
“What we find in our own statistical observations is that recruitment is a challenge but retention is an even greater challenge in many areas,” Mr. Cardillo says in the report, “so it’s really important for the system to be structured to support workers in many ways in the work that they do in this field,” including social supports, given the demands of the work. He also stressed the toll of informal caregiving on families who have stepped in to fill the access gap – an unrecognized burden in discussions about access and costs that is not wholly visible or accounted for in the data on workforce needs.
One prong of HCA’s state budget advocacy this year included a provision to initiate a stakeholder process to examine and promote a multi-factorial approach on the workforce issues affecting home care throughout the state. While the provisions were among many that did not get included in an unusually fitful budget negotiation process this year, home care workforce issues remain a priority of HCA’s post-budget advocacy and our continued talks with the Legislature and Governor’s office from multiple angles.
You can listen to the full NPR report at https://www.marketplace.org/2017/05/05/health-care/home-health-aide-shares-her-experience-caring-others.